Annual Gulf Winds Track Club Races
David Yon, revised January 26, 2013
Directing a race is a challenge, but experience generally shows that GWTC does a great job year after year putting on 15 or more quality events. The races range in distance from 1 to 50 miles and start in January and continue through December. Some courses are flat and fast, while others are hilly and challenging. All are fun! So don't let Turkey Trot be your only running experience with GWTC. Join us at any or all of these events – both as a participant and as a volunteer. For the most current details visit the GWTC race calendar under the "Races" tab on the main page.
- Billy Bowlegs 5K. Date: January 2014. Location: FSU/FAMU Engineering Building, Innovation Park. Bill Hillison and Larry Giunipero direct this well-run race to benefit the FSU Faculty and Friends Scholarship Fund. The race became a club race in 2002, but has been around since Leitch Wright and Larry first directed it in 1985. Since 1994, the program has awarded more than 133 scholarships for students, averaging about $500 per award. In 2013, 110 runners showed up.
- GWTC 30K-15K. Date: January 12, 2013. Location: Old Centerville Road. Old Centerville Road makes this race a very special event. Race directors Jerry and Jackie McDaniel took control in 2005, the last year the race was held at Natural Bridge Road. In 2006 they moved the race to the red clay hills of Old Centerville Road where it has been a big success. It begins near The Retreat at Bradley’s Pond, which graciously opens its doors for registration, awards and warmth. The hard-packed dirt road is hilly, but a special place to run with spectacular old oaks protecting much of the course. Once known as the “Ides of March,” the race was first run in March of 1978 under the direction of Tim Simpkins, who also won the inaugural race. Its home was the St. Marks Wildlife Refuge for many years.
- Tallahassee Marathon/Half Marathon. Date: February 3, 2013. Location: FSU’s Mike Long Track. This race has had a number of great homes, but in 2004 it moved to the FSU Track. The course covers much of the St. Marks “Rails-to-Trails.” It is flat and fast, great for qualifying for Boston and for running PR’s. Jay Silvanima took over the reins of this classy event in 2007. His wife Nancy Stedman became co-director a few years later. There is no better marathon experience than a “hometown” marathon, and this one proves the point. This race was first run in 1975 in the forest at Natural Bridge Road, and might just be the first “official” GWTC race. Two runners participated that first year - director Andy Burns and winner John Hargreaves.
- Flash 12K/6K. Date: February 16, 2013. Location: San Marcos de Apalache State Park, St. Marks. Mark Priddy is in firm command of this event which has grown steadily since he took over in 2010. The race starts at San Marcos de Apalache State Park at the end of the St. Marks Trail near the confluence of the St. Marks and Wakulla Rivers. The Flash started in 1989, and Joe Dexter directed every race until 2010; Nadine Dexter was there from 2000 until 2009. The 6K race debut was in 2009.
- Springtime 10K/5K/1M. Date: April 6, 2013. Location: Monroe Street and Jefferson. This is GWTC’s downtown springtime event, and you should never miss it. Brian Corbin and Judy Alexander are directors of this parade of runners and they have added their own touch to the race, including a 5K in 2008. 2012 was another record breaking year with a challenging new course made necessary by the construction around Cascade Park. The hills and the community feeling will assure that you have wonderful stories to tell. The construction will require some creative course changes yet again, so watch to see what happens. The race was first run in 1976 as a 4 mile race under the direction of Andy Burns, and became a 10K in 1977.
- Palace Saloon 5K. Date: April 20, 2013. Location: Messer Field to the Palace Saloon. One of GWTC’s oldest races, the Palace was first run in 1975. FSU Hall of Famer Herb Wills directs this event. With a big crowd and a great celebration at the end, this race is a lot of fun – well, other than the uphill near the end. You have to love that long downhill finish though. In 2009, the race busted through the 1000 mark with 1022 finishers who got to enjoy a post race party led by Bill McGuire’s guitar. That record lasted only one year as 1214 finishers took advantage of the perfect weather in 2010. Last year just under 1200 finished. It’s a great way to follow the Springtime 10K.
- Great Potluck Bash 4-Mile and Open Mike Social. Date: June 1, 2013. Location: Forest Meadows Tennis Facility. GWTC prides itself in supporting youth running, in part, through the Chenoweth Fund. This event, as much social as competitive, serves as a fund-raiser and opportunity to recognize the outstanding high school track-and-field and cross-country athletes in the area with scholarship awards. You cannot wear a watch during this prediction run and you can’t beat the low-country boil after the race. The off-road race was first held in 1998 and is under the direction of the Chenoweth Committee: Warren Emo, Myrna Hoover, Mary Register, Toma Wilkerson and David Yon. The Chenoweth Fund has now awarded over $100,000 in scholarships on behalf of GWTC.
- Breakfast on the Track Mile. Date: August 17, 2013. Location: Maclay School Track. Talk about marathons being tough races if you want, but a well-run mile on the track requires more courage than any other distance. Runners are seeded into 12-14 heats based on their projected finish times. GWTC picked the Wright family to direct this event and Felton, Bonnie and Jamie put on a great show, including pancakes for breakfast. The first year for this race was 1998 and they have directed every race.
- Miller Landing Madness Date: August 24, 2013. Location: Elinor Klapp-Phipps Park. This event, which includes an 8K, a 5K and a 3K, has become the kickoff for the high-school cross-country season and the signal for GWTC members that it’s time to start racing again after a summer hiatus. After a few years on the Miccosukee Greenway, the race moved to the gorgeous Elinor Klapp-Phipps Park behind Forest Meadows. The race is a great chance for GWTC members and local high-school runners to mix it up together. Jeanne O'Kon, Bill Lott and Tom Perkins have teamed up as race directors. The race began as a 5 mile event called the Tom Brown Bash in 1977 under the direction of Lee Cohee.
- Women’s Distance Festival 5K/1 Mile Date: September 14, 2013. Location: Optimist Park. Lisa Unger is the director of this quality event that celebrates women in sports. The women often outnumber and out run the men in this race through Indian Head Acres. It has a unique twist in that the women start 5 minutes before the men. The 2012 women’s winner ran 17:05.88 for a new course record. The race began with Dot Skofronick and Shirley Bull as race directors in 1982.
- Prefontaine 5K. Date: September 21, 2013. Location: Silver Lake Recreation Area. Like the runner this event was named for, the course is always challenging. Changes in 2006 made it a bit more runner-friendly, but in 2008 the course returned to its tough sandy roots. Race Director Jeff Nielsen always brings his own mark to this race that runs through the national forest. The race has also become a favorite place for local high-school teams to celebrate cross country running. Dave Rogers birthed this event in 1975 not long after the legendary Steve Prefontaine died.
- Pine Run 20K. Date: October 12, 2013. Location: Tall Timbers Research Station. For many years this race's home was the South Georgia experimental forest known as Southlands which was maintained by International Paper (IP). But alas, good things must pass and the forest went up for sale and the race appeared to die in 2007. But it came roaring back to life in 2008 under the direction of Gordon Cherr. One of the race’s biggest crowds responded to Gordon’s rescue effort at a brand new location - Tall Timbers. In spite of the tough, memorable hills on this off-road course, the crowds returned in 2009. And then they overwhelmed all with a record turnout in 2010, most muttering a few curse words at Mr. Cherr. 2011 saw another strong crowd. Bill McGuire keeps the tradition going by playing music to make sure all have a fun time post-race. The race was first organized for IP in 1977 by Dave Stetson of the Troy Running Club, Troy, Alabama. Jim Stephens, GWTC President, was there to help as well.
- Turkey Trot 1M/15K/10K/5K. Date: Thanksgiving Day. Location: State Office Complex in SouthWood. 2011 was the 36th running of this race. It has been the club’s fastest growing race and has become an essential family meeting place for area runners and walkers on Thanksgiving Day. It has been around since 1976, and race directors David and Mary Jean Yon do their best to give you a caring way to burn calories before Thanksgiving dinner. 5116 runners and walkers broke all attendence records for Tallahassee racing in 2011. 2009 also saw the introduction of the Turkey Trot Heroes – runners who gave a little extra to the great causes the race supports – and that program took off in 2010 and helped the race set fund raising records for the Boys and Girls Clubs, The Shelter and the Refuge House.
- Tallahassee 10-Mile Challenge. Date: December 7, 2013. Location: Hawks Rise Elementary School (use parking lot off of Meridian Road). Reid Vannoy debuted, with much help from wife Linda, as race director of this event in 2010. He moved the location of the race to Ox Bottom Manor with a start at Hawks Rise Elementary School, but preserved the "Challenge" in the race. The 5-mile race is still there to give runners not wanting to go 10 miles a good option. The race began as a 20K in 1977 under the direction of Leitch Wright and became a 10-miler in 1988.
- Tallahassee Ultra Distance Classic. Date: December 14, 2013. Location: Wakulla Springs State Park. Gary and Peg Griffin have brought their own special love of Ultra events to this Classic which includes both a 50K and a 50 Mile race. The First Family of Ultra Running (Gary has now run more than 100 ultras and Peg has attended almost as many) has the credentials necessary to make this a great experience for participants. 2010 brought us a new course that leaves the beautiful grounds of Wakulla Springs State Park and includes a 10 kilometer loop along Highway 61, The Wakulla Springs Road. . 2011 saw the greatest number of finishers in the event's history. The event was first run in 1980 and was directed by a committee of volunteers. Don’t let the distances scare you; this is a very doable event and a great experience! Check out www.tallahasseeultra.com/ for all the details.
- Tannenbaum Trail 6K. Date: December 21, 2013. Location: Apalachee Regional Park. Herb Wills and Brian Corbin teamed up to create a brand new GWTC race in 2011. That hasn’t happened – well in a long time. This race is intended to showcase “one of the finest cross country courses in the Southeast.” GWTC joined forces with Florida State University and Leon County to help plan and create this great venue.
Gulf Winds Track Club, P.O. Box 3447, Tallahassee, FL